… are posts like these from writer Richard Bausch, who keeps sending little writing gems out into the ether. Enjoy.
“The linguists call it a triadic event. It is the single most essentially human transaction in the world. We can see animals signing, and we even see them in some instances passing on very specific knowledge concerning rudimentary tools, or flying, or even making the kill. But you will never see two chimps talking about a third chimp who isn’t there. In our daily living, of course, it takes the form of gossip, of expressions of anxiety or concern or entertainment or even jokes, but look where it has lead. I like to draw it out on a blackboard: on one side of the triad is Homer in 700 BC. On the other side is any of us in 2012, in any city on earth or out in the space station. The center of the arc is that soldier, say, in The Iliad, who is discovered by Odysseus, and tries to run, and a spear is hurled that lands in the dirt at his feet, having come over his head, and he stops frozen and knows that he is going to die, that he cannot escape. Or, as I have often said, let us put tragic Hector in the center, removing his helmet so his little son can recognize his own father. These are powerful moments that make us ache, and as Mark Van Doren has written, even knowing the outcome and even having read it before, ‘mortality still stings.’ And it was written seven hundred years before Christ walked the earth: more than two thousand years ago.
This is the miracle of writing, and when you sit down to write you are partaking in that miracle, you are in fact not different in kind than anyone else who ever did that–human beings all, men and women with fears and doubts and hopes and worries and every tentative nerve you have; and so to me a large part of this occupation is aiming to be worthy of their respect. That is, to show up for work in the days, and to honor their struggles with the art in my own struggles with it, understanding perfectly well that what does come from my work will most likely disappear with me, and accepting that as my destiny while also respecting and loving the thing itself, narrative art, for its essential and glorious human beauty. So let go, let go. You can write an awful lot if you are simply thinking of it as your work, an honorable and even a generous and good way to spend the time, taking part in the great mysterious ongoing communication across time and boundaries and politics and and every other failure of existence, cheating hate, and all those abstractions we tend to make out of the Other, cheating death itself. This simple act–putting words down in any language, in sequence, to tell the story that suggests itself, working like all hell to get it right and being as truthful as you can while also understanding that it is going to be as hard as any work you’ve ever done, but that it will answer you, deep, as that kind of striving always does.”